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Centre from St. John’s agrees to a one-year, two-way contract with a modest pay increase
After a season that saw him play his first National Hockey League games and win an American Hockey League championship, Clark Bishop has a new contract with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
The 23-year-old centre from St. John’s, who was a restricted free agent, has agreed to one-year, two-way contract with the ‘Canes that will pay him $700,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 while in the minors. However, even if he doesn’t see any big-league action in 2019-20, Bishop’s new deal guarantees he will earn at least $80,000.
All figures are in US dollars. Based on the current exchange rate, that $700,000 would translate into about $915,000 Canadian.
It all represents a modest increase on his recently expired entry-level contract (ELC) that called for a base NHL salary of $650,000 and $65,000 in the AHL last season.
Bishop appeared in 20 regular-season games with Carolina and 38 with the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in what was an up-and-down 2019-20 campaign. That’s not a comment on his play, but on the whopping 17 transactions that saw him bounce between the North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh, the home of the Hurricanes.
His first call-up came on Oct. 18, 2018 and two days later, Bishop made his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche.
He scored his first —and to date, only — big-league goal Dec. 7, 2018 against the Anaheim Ducks.
In all, Bishop had a goal, two assists and a minus-three rating with Carolina and three goals, three assists and minus-seven in the AHL with the Checkers. Those certainly aren’t eye-popping numbers, but then again, Bishop’s forté is as a defensive forward.
Bishop also got into a couple of Stanley Cup playoff games with the Hurricanes before being returned to Charlotte once again and getting into 16 games (2G, 1A) on the Checkers’ run to a Calder Cup title.
Bishop reached restricted free agency with the end of the three-year, entry-level deal he signed with Carolina in 2016, two years after the Hurricanes selected him in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft out of Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
But Bishop was very restricted as a free agent — he doesn’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2019-20 season — so once the Hurricanes made him a qualifying offer in late June, it was almost a given he was going to re-sign with Carolina.
However, Bishop has become waiver-eligible, meaning if sent to the minors, he could be claimed by another NHL team.
Other NLers who had NHL contracts last season
With Clark Bishop re-signing with the Carolina Hurricaens, here’s a look at the contract status of other Newfoundlanders who were on NHL deals in 2018-19:
D Connor Donaghey of St. John’s —Like Bishop, the 23-year-old Donaghey saw his NHL entry-level contract expire, but he wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the San Jose Sharks, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Donaghey was the top-scoring defenceman for the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears last season, with 15 goals and 28 assists in 64 games, and he would seem to a player who draw at least some interest from the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, who had one domestic blueliner, Adam Pardy of Bonavista head into retirement at the end of the season.
It’s at least worth noting Donaghey was originally signed to his ELC as an undrafted free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Growlers’ parent team, although he never played a game in the Leafs’ organization. He was still in the junior ranks when he was sent to the Ottawa Senators in the 2016 Dion Phaneuf trade. Donaghey then moved from the Senators to the Sharks in the summer of 2018,
Since entering the pro ranks, Donaghey has appeared in 118 games in the ECHL (Orlando and Brampton) and a single AHL contest with the AHL’s Belleville Senators in 2017-18.
F Nathan Noel of St. John’s — The 22-year-old Noel will be entering the final year of the entry-level contract he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who had selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL draft.
Noel is coming off his first full season in the AHL, scoring two goals and four assists in 46 games with the Rockford IceHogs. He’s been hampered by injuries over the last two years, including his rookie pro season (2017-18), when he suited up in just 38 games between Rockford and the ECHL’s Indy Fuel.
G Evan Fitzpatrick of St. John’s — Fitzpatrick, 21, is coming off his first professional season, one that saw him hit every step of the organizational ladder of the St. Louis Blues, who drafted him in the second round in 2016.
Fitzpatrick played for the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers (25GP, 3.30 GAA) and AHL’s San Antonio Rampage (8GP, 2.66 GAA) and spent just about a week in the NHL with the Blues, although he didn’t see any action, only dressing as a backup.
Fitzpatrick has two years left on his ELC with the Stanley Cup champion Blues.